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Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 25 March 2008]: At this stage it is difficult to forecast the extent to which Bluetongue will have spread geographically by the time vaccine is delivered, or what demand for vaccine will be. However, following some estimates of likely take-up of vaccine from industry and expert recommendations on where we could expect the disease to be present this year, we have ordered 20 million doses for use in England (and a further 2.5 million doses are reserved for use in Wales). The UK was the first member state affected by the current outbreak to place an order for vaccine. We are considering with industry how best to secure future supplies.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for how many serotypes of bluetongue a vaccine is available; and for how many serotypes vaccine research is being conducted. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 25 March 2008]: Live attenuated vaccines have been developed for most Bluetongue serotypes. However, we would not normally consider using live vaccines as a disease control measure as there are significant potential risks associated with them.
We are aware of inactivated vaccines which have been developed for Bluetongue serotypes 1 and 4. An inactivated vaccine is currently being developed and produced for serotype 8, the serotype currently in circulation in parts of England, and the UK has placed an order with Intervet for 22.5 million doses.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the (a) wholesale and (b) final on-farm price of bluetongue vaccine in (i) 50 ml and (ii) 20 ml bottles. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 25 March 2008]: The vaccine we have ordered from Intervet will be available in 50 ml and 20 ml bottles, and livestock keepers will be able to purchase vaccine through their private vets via veterinary wholesalers. The wholesale list price is likely to be £22.02 for the 50 ml bottles and £13.10 for the 20 ml bottles. However, it is expected that the final on-farm price is likely to be between £27.50 and £33.00 for the 50 ml bottles (i.e. around 55 to 66 pence per ml) and between £16.35 and £19.65 for the 20 ml bottles (i.e. around 82 to 98 pence per ml) plus VAT. This will allow the wholesalers and veterinary organisations to cover the overhead, handling and administration charges throughout the distribution process. The on-farm price will be dependent on arrangements between keepers, their private vets and veterinary wholesalers.
Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the merits of a compulsory national vaccination programme against bluetongue disease. 
Jonathan Shaw: In collaboration with a core group of industry stakeholders, the Government fully considered the option of a compulsory vaccination programme. However, this would cost the farming industry at least 50 per cent. more than voluntary vaccination and, because of the associated increase in regulatory burdens, would slow down the distribution of vaccine in a situation where speed will be of the essence. Moreover, the lack of scientific evidence to support an immediate prospect of eradication through vaccination suggests that the case for compulsion is weak.
Together with the core group, the Government have therefore developed a vaccination plan that avoids the negative consequences of compulsion, but promotes mass take-up of the vaccine through an industry-led campaign.
Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of agricultural land comprises farms affected by bovine tuberculosis in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farms in (a) England, (b) Cumbria and (c) Copeland have recorded cases of bovine tuberculosis over the last five years. 
Jonathan Shaw: The number of individual new bovine TB herd breakdowns in England and Cumbria in each of the last five years is given in the following table. It is not possible to break the data down to a constituency level.
|Number of new bovine TB herd breakdowns|
|(1) 2005-07 figures are provisional and subject to change as more data becomes available.|
Animal Health database (Vetnet)
Jonathan Shaw: Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a complex issue which must be considered in the round, not in terms of badger culling versus cattle controls. We know that the disease can be spread by both cattle and badgers.
Our improved cattle control measures, including pre-movement testing and the increased use of the gamma interferon blood test, are having a positive effect by helping detect infected animals that would otherwise have been missed. We have also been working with stakeholders to raise awareness of simple biosecurity measures to keep cattle and badgers apart. We intend to continue to work with farmers and vets to encourage a high level of compliance with these vital measures.
No decision has yet been made on badger culling to control TB in cattle. However, we are carefully considering all the evidence, including the Final Report of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB, the assessment of the evidence on badger culling produced by the former Chief Scientific Adviser, and the recently published report of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.
Any decision will need to take account of the impact of any proposed measure on the disease, the science, public acceptability and the practicalities of implementation. Whatever the decision, cattle controls will continue to be vital in our fight against bTB.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of (a) the performance of and (b) the methods used by energy companies in achieving their energy efficiency commitments. 
Mr. Woolas: Ofgem administers the Energy Efficiency Commitment. For EEC2, which is due to finish on 31 March 2008, Ofgem has published regular quarterly updates on the progress made by suppliers to meet their targets. The latest report was published in February 2008 and indicates that all suppliers have met their non-priority group targets, but that, with one quarter remaining, there was still some activity remaining in the priority group. Ofgem will publish the final report on EEC2, with details of insulation and other measures employed, in July 2008.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which of his Departments initiatives have been advertised to the public in each of the last 10 years; and what the cost of each such campaign was. 
|Campaign||Financial year||Spend (£)|
This includes communications on a wide range of matters, much of it necessary or beneficial to the public and the wide range of industries in which DEFRA has an interest, together with local government, voluntary organisations and other bodies.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what access to the Environment Agencys national flood and coastal defence database is provided to insurance companies. 
Some specific datasets and associated attributes (for example, historic flood events and spatial flood defences) have been approved for access and are, therefore, available under licence from the Environment Agency. The Association of British Insurers have been made aware of these.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with insurance industry representatives on proposals within the Thames Gateway Interim Plan area to build homes in areas vulnerable to flooding; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: DEFRA is involved in discussions with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) at official and ministerial level. The Government works with the ABI to maximise the availability of flood insurance cover which remains available to the great majority of households in areas of flood risk.
The Environment Agency has had continued dialogue with the ABI regarding the Thames Estuary 2100 Project. Both the ABI and individual insurers have been invited to participate in Environment Agency consultations which have been designed to develop the draft Final Plan (which will, in turn, go out to consultation in spring 2009).
The Environment Agency has not had specific engagement with the ABI regarding current development
and flood risk in the Thames Gateway, but the Agency does apply the guidance set out in PPS25 (Development and Flood Risk).
Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his most recent estimate is of the financial cost to the farming industry of the foot and mouth outbreaks in 2007. 
Jonathan Shaw: DEFRA's current estimate of the economic cost to the UK livestock sector of the movement restrictions and the ban on exports, imposed as a result of foot and mouth disease and bluetongue, is over £100 million.
|Scheme year||Approximate total spend/budget (£ million)|
Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what procedures are in place to ensure that work carried out by contractors for the Warm Front scheme is done by qualified staff. 
Mr. Woolas: Installers working on Warm Front must hold current qualifications to professionally recognised standards, such as Corgi, NICEIC and BBA, and as a minimum must carry £10 million Employers and £3 million Public/Products Insurance liability cover.
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